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  • clivenmel

March 27th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} It is a really nice mooring that we have here in Abingdon and we are more or less on our own.  There was another narrowboat moored up in front of us when we arrived on Tuesday but we heard his engine this morning and later on realised he had gone.  So there are just a couple of �plastic� boats (cabin cruisers) left up ahead now and there doesn't seem to be anybody on board either of them.   We have seen lots of different types of birds whilst we have been moored here.  Canada Geese , whose honking often wakes us in the morning!   Coots, which look very similar to the Moorhen but which are larger and have a white blaze on their heads as opposed to the Moorhen�s red one, also these birds dive for food and we haven't noticed the Moorhens doing this. We have also seen another couple of Great Crested Grebes � these also dive under the water, disappear and seem to stay down for ages.  They obviously swim quite a way whilst they are under the water and then pop up where you least expect them.   However the highlight has to be the Red Kites.  We have had several sightings of these magnificent birds whilst we have been moored here and even managed to get a few photos.  It is wonderful to see them, especially knowing how dangerously low their numbers got a few years ago.  Fortunately they are now flourishing all over the country.  Their largest numbers are in Wales, but there are quite a lot in the South of England too.  Rumour has it that as we get further South we may even see green Parakeets!  Evidently there are now thousands of them living and breeding in Southern Britain.  The experts reckon this is due to the mild winters we have had in recent years � wonder how they have managed with the winter we have just had, which has not exactly been what you would call mild!   We did take a walk up into Abingdon on Wednesday to have a look around and do some shopping.  There is a large square in the centre and you can take a seat and admire some of the interesting architecture of the town.  Especially the County Hall, which is now the museum.  It was supposedly designed by Christopher Kempster, a pupil of Christopher Wren, who of course designed St Paul's Cathedral.  This building was once hailed as the "grandest town hall in Britain".  It stands on pillars, leaving a sheltered area beneath for a market or other municipal functions, and overlooks the main market square.    We understand that a longstanding tradition of the town has local dignitaries throwing buns from the roof of this building for crowds assembled in the market square on specific days of celebration (such as royal marriages; coronations; jubilees etc).  Although we didn�t go in to see them, the museum has a collection of the buns, dried and varnished, dating back to bun throwings of the 19th century!    Abbingdon Abbey is extremely old and dates back to Saxon times, possibly the 7th Century � again it is a beautiful building.    After our bit of sightseeing we went shopping and finally found a Somerfields supermarket hidden away down a little alley.  We managed to stock up and then made our way back to the boat.  We haven�t set foot outside again since!    Yesterday was very blustery and cold with an occasional shower and as we have no pressing engagements at the moment we decided to just stay put and relax.  It was very nice, so nice in fact that we are seriously thinking about doing it again today!  Clive has however taken advantage of a lull in the weather to wash the other side of the boat, the left side!   We have got a slight problem which needs sorting out � we noticed about a week ago that a couple of the tiles in the bathroom appeared to be loose.  Well they got looser and finally this morning they both fell off the wall!  Fortunately the boat is still under warranty and so Clive phoned Richard � the engineer who sorts out any problems on East/West boats.  He is extremely busy just at the moment but has promised to catch up with us by the end of next week, so we will have to just make do with a temporary fix till he gets here.  Apart from a couple of other little teething troubles that have occurred since we set off we have no complaints about Lady Arwen, she is a lovely boat and we feel very much at home on board.   I think we will be moving on to pastures new tomorrow.   We need to buy an anchor.  We did not require one before as we were on the canals, but now we are on the river we do need one, just as a safety measure.  If your engine packs in on the canal you are never far from the bank, plus if absolutely necessary you can jump in, the canal is rarely deeper than 4 feet!  However the river is a different matter altogether, for a start it is flowing, sometimes quite quickly and also can be very deep and wide, therefore if you breakdown you need to be able to drop anchor to secure the boat until help arrives.   There is a chandlery here in Abingdon but the largest anchor they do is 10Kg and we really need a 12 or 15Kg one for the size of our boat.  We also require diesel, which is now down to half a tank, not a problem at the moment but we like to keep it topped up as condensation forms in the tank if the level is low and you need to avoid that if possible.   So other than that there is not a lot to report � back in a day or two.

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